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What is a case study interview (and other questions about consulting firms)?
October 10, 2011 8:55 AM   Subscribe

What is a case study interview (and other questions about consulting firms)?

I got a recruitment call from one of the big-name consulting firms. I've always liked the idea of being a consultant, but I followed a different path. Regardless, they seem to feel that my experience aligns with their needs.

So...
What does a consulting firm look for in a consultant - what skills? what traits?
What should I be knowledgeable about?
What does a consulting firm consultant actually do in the course of a week?
And where can I find examples of case study interview questions?

I'm choosing the human capital track
posted by jander03 to Work & Money (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I interviewed with Corporate Executive Board for their human capital track several years ago. The "case study question" was "Walmart would like to launch an upscale version of its stores. What recommendations would you make?" The candidate is expected to discuss the question in detail and identify the information-gathering and decision-making strategies he or she would pursue.
posted by Nomyte at 9:05 AM on October 10, 2011


It depends on the company and the consulting area (i.e. management, technology). I currently work for a pharmaceutical consulting firm and the "case interview" questions were more like logic puzzles one might have in a programming interview than about scenarios.

Glassdoor is a great website with info on the questions people have actually been asked during interviews. For big-name consulting firms, the site should have plenty of information.
posted by yodangson at 9:15 AM on October 10, 2011


BCG have an interactive case and other practice cases available on their site if you're looking for examples.

I was part of a team interviewing for several mid-level positions, and the real standout for us was someone who whipped out something very similar to our internal project kickoff docs and used it to better understand and respond to the sample case. If you synthesize information better when it's written down, it's a great way to organize yourself during the interview.
posted by evoque at 9:55 AM on October 10, 2011


I was part of a team interviewing for several mid-level positions, and the real standout for us was someone who whipped out something very similar to our internal project kickoff docs and used it to better understand and respond to the sample case. If you synthesize information better when it's written down, it's a great way to organize yourself during the interview.

Please be aware that if you're interviewing at one of the major consulting firms, they will most likely not allow you to use anything besides a piece of blank paper and a pen. The test is, in large part, to see what you can do on your feet, without materials to draw on.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:05 AM on October 10, 2011


I did these a while back, and thought it was a pretty fun process. The best book by far was the 'Case in Point' book, I'd suggest buying that after taking a look at the BCG sample cases. Good luck!
posted by iamscott at 10:14 AM on October 10, 2011


All helpful answers - thank you!
posted by jander03 at 6:03 PM on October 11, 2011


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